The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Goats, apple blossoms, chickens, and bees

Rainy cardinal

Ten weeks after its first cleaning, the goat bedding had once again built up to the point where straw was overflowing the cinderblocks on the downhill side of the coop. In early February, I used the manure/straw/hay mixture in an experimental area, but this time around I needed the biomass in the main garden. So I deposited the goat bedding around blueberries, gooseberries, Cleaning out deep beddingcurrants, a few apple trees, and on beds that will be planted with corn and cucumbers in two weeks. Here's hoping weed seeds don't make me regret this use (but you'll notice I only spread the bedding in areas where it will be simple to kill mulch if necessary to keep sprouting grasses in line).

You'll also notice that I was too engrossed in my task to get Mark to photograph me this time around --- the photo above is from February when I cleaned out the coop with goats inside. This time, I tethered our little herd near the blueberries, which went great until Abigail pulled up her tether at the bitter end and got three good mouthfuls of apple leaves. Bad goat!

Two variety apple tree

Speaking of apple trees, the first blossoms are opening on the earliest apple varieties. The tree shown above is primarily Virginia Beauty, but I grafted a little bit of William's Pride onto one limb two years ago. The graft union has nearly disappeared, but I can tell where one variety stops and the other starts because the Virginia Beauty buds are just barely unfurling while the William's Pride is in full bloom. Maybe we'll get to taste both types of apples this fall?

Chickens and ducks on pasture

This was also the week when we shut our hens and ducks into the pasture for the growing season. One of you mentioned in the comments a few weeks ago that you didn't remember we still had chickens --- if you want to read more about our poultry, be sure to check out our chicken blog where we give many more details about our feathered friends.

Empty honeycomb

I'll end this disjointed post with a look up under the bee hive. There's not much going on in the bottom box yet, but our colony is working hard and will hopefully reach their basement level soon. We've got another package shipping next week, so our apiary will be even more abuzz in short order!

Can you tell it was a beautiful and exhausting spring day Wednesday?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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What kind of bird is that in the top photo? What a handsome guy! (I'm guessing male?) --Heather in CA

Comment by Heather Thu Apr 16 19:13:10 2015
That bird looks very grumpy. I'm thinking it's a female cardinal and not very happy about being in the rain. But it's a great picture nevertheless.
Comment by NaYan Thu Apr 16 21:14:53 2015

I don't mind the disjointed post at all--a nice wrap-up of what's going on over in your neck of the woods!

I'm wondering--where did you end up ordering your bee package from?

Comment by Jake Sat Apr 18 00:31:03 2015

Heather --- NaYan is right, the bird is a female cardinal. Common as dirt here on the east coast, but always beautiful! :-)

Jake --- That's a good question. I was originally going to order from BeeWeaver again, but they changed their shipping policies (long story) which made me cancel my order. It was late by then to find a source of chemical-free bees, but I eventually tracked one down...and have since forgotten what the company name was. I can't find the confirmation email at the moment, but will be sure to post more details when the bees arrive. :-)

Comment by anna Sat Apr 18 13:01:33 2015

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